Today I’m talking to Harriet Grace, author of ‘Cells’. If you haven’t come across this book yet, here is the synopsis:-
The biological clock is ticking for Martha, an archetypal forty-something career woman. She longs to have a baby, but can’t get pregnant. With several failed courses of IVF behind her, she and her husband, Grant, have decided to stop trying to have a child and are attempting to put parenthood out of their minds. This very topical dilemma explored by Harriet Grace in her first novel ‘Cells’ is one faced by thousands of couples who can’t conceive naturally. When these couples have been given the extra hope of IVF and that fails how do they cope? Martha isn’t completely sure she wants a baby, but can’t bear the failure. Grant is haunted by memories which make him long for a baby one moment, and want to walk away from his marriage the next. When the computers crash on the Features Floor of a national newspaper, Martha has a migraine and is losing control of her job. She looks up and sees Jon, one of the messengers, and for a few seconds he seems like a saviour. Relationships collide in this tale of love, sex and betrayal, causing all three to question their consciences. I asked Harriet why she chose the very emotional subject of infertility for her debut novel and to give us her thoughts on this subject, here’s what she had to say –
“I wanted to explore two things about infertility:
- The phenomenon of IVF – the extra hope that it gives, but what happens if it fails
- The ambivalence many woman have about having a baby, and whether ambitious career women want a baby as badly as less ambitious women!
I wanted to write about someone different from myself i.e. a woman who has put her career first and left it almost too late to have a baby. I remember the despair in my twenties at not being able to conceive my first child for over a year. I had been brought up to find the ‘right’ man, marry and have children. Imagine, I thought, a woman who was brought up to have a career first and then, almost as an afterthought in her mid-to-late thirties, thinks about having a baby. What happens if she doesn’t succeed, in spite of IVF treatment? Is it the same for her? Does she mind so much? Won’t it interfere with her career?
IVF didn’t exist when I was having kids. If you failed to have a baby you had to come to terms with it, grieve over the loss, and try and move on, but with IVF there is a temptation to keep trying. When I spoke to the infertility clinic at Hammersmith Hospital they talked about the sometimes ‘unbearable extension of hope’ that IVF provides. At that time the rate of success was between about 18% and 25% which meant that the large majority of couples going through IVF were going to fail. But because there was a chance it would work, they kept trying and trying, often at huge cost to their bodies and their finances.
‘Cells’ is about a couple who have stopped trying IVF, but can’t move on. Martha and Grant’s infertility is ‘unexplained’ i.e. there is no reason why they shouldn’t conceive (about 10% of infertility is ‘unexplained.’ ) Martha is not really sure she wants a baby but can’t bare the idea of failure. It effects her work, her confidence, her marriage with Grant. She starts behaving unpredictably. She feels attracted to the young messenger at work; she invites him to her house. Jenny Newman’s quote on the cover describes the book as, ‘A compelling, three-cornered story about a very modern predicament – how fertility problems can war against desire or kindle it in devastating ways.’
Medical advances are wonderful if they work, but when they don’t they can cause heartbreak. Many nearly forty year-olds who have read ‘Cells’ have said they know someone, if not several people in Martha’s position, who have been trying and trying to have a baby. I wrote the book over ten years ago and the first edition came out in 2008, but this issue is still relevant.”
Thank you for joining me today Harriet and it’s fascinating to get an insight into ‘Cells’. It’s a problem that affects so many couples but is often very difficult, and painful, to talk about.
Find out more about Harriet and where to buy ‘Cells’:-
Amazon.co.uk (BUY) UK: http://amzn.to/LsdXvV Amazon.com (BUY) US: http://amzn.to/zTZ0XD Publisher – SilverWood Books: http://www.silverwoodbooks.co.
loveahappyending.com author page: http://loveahappyending.com/harriet-grace/
Author Website: http://www.harrietgrace.co.uk/Harriet_Grace/Home.html
Twitter A/c @Harrietgrace65: https://twitter.com/#!/Harrietgrace65